The Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with a population of 475,580 (as of January 1, 2006) (population of agglomeration: 600,000) and an area of approximately 100 km². It is located in the west of the country, in the province of South Holland, of which it is also the provincial capital. The Hague is like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, part of the conglomerate metropolitan area Randstad, with a population of 6,659,300 inhabitants.
The Hague is the actual seat of government, but, somewhat anomalously, not the official capital of the Netherlands, a role set aside by the Dutch constitution for Amsterdam. The Hague is the home of the Eerste Kamer (first chamber) and the Tweede Kamer (second chamber), respectively the upper and lower houses forming the "Staten Generaal" (literally the "Estates-General"). Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands lives and works in The Hague. All foreign embassies and government ministries are located in the city, as well as the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (The Supreme Court), the Raad van State (Council of State) and many lobbying organisations.